Mexican Senate Advances Amendments to FOI Law

21 December 2012

The Mexican Senate on Dec. 20 unanimously approved amendments to the freedom of information law, increasing the powers of the FOI oversight body.

Under the legislation, supported by new president Enrique Peña Nieto, the Federal Institute of Access to Information (IFAI) would gain new autonomy, with its decisions made binding. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)  This reform would prevent the government from appealing IFAI decisions to the Supreme Court, a right now reserved only to citizens.

In addition, IFAI’s jurisdiction would be extended to cover legislative and judicial branches, as well as states and municipalities. 

Political parties, unions and trusts will also be required to be transparent about their management of public funds.

The legislation also would expand the number of IFAI commissioners from five to seven and make some changes to the confirmation process to increase the authority of the Senate in the process, although one news report suggests that this reform remains under discussion. A new 10-person IFAI advisory board would be created.

The bill would redefine the exemptions for disclosure of information related to national security and economic and financial stability.

See a news report in la informacion.com and a longer report on the Senate website here, both in Spanish.

Since this is an amendment to the Constitution, it still has to be approved by a qualified majority in the House and supported by at least 17 of the 32 Mexican states to enter into force.

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